A Testament to God’s Grace, Mercy, Infinite Love and Care

By Suzanne Saunders

About six weeks ago I had a health scare which sent me to my GP in a fairly concerned state. I had been having dizzy spell and shortness of breath over the preceding couple of weeks which also left me overcome by tiredness on some days and having to take a two hour nap. I had been praying fervently that God would reveal what was happening and would keep me safe.

The frequency of these episodes began to increase so that they were happening three to five days per week. My GP was concerned about my heart and sent me to have a Holter monitor fitted for 24 hours, as well as an echocardiogram. 

A week later, on 3rd July my doctor had the results of the monitoring and called me in to see him. He gave me the news that I was having pauses in my heartbeat from between 3 and 5 seconds. He said this was serious as the longer the pauses the greater the risk that I would pass out and my heart could stop beating. 

A lot of miraculous things then started to happen – and please note, God is in the detail here.

  • First, my GP immediately rang a Bunbury cardiologist to secure an urgent appointment for me.
  • I was given an appointment for 3.45 p.m. on Thursday 6th July.
  • The cardiologist informed me I would need a pacemaker and may have to go to Perth but then remembered a colleague of hers – an Electrophysiologist (Specialist Pacemaker Cardiologist) was in Bunbury that day and due to return to Perth the next day.
  • She rang him straight away and asked him if he could fit a pacemaker for me the next day before he returned to Perth – and he agreed!
  • Next my cardiologist arranged for me to be admitted to hospital early that evening to ensure I had a bed and was being monitored in the Cardiac Care Unit at St John of God.
  • By 7.00 p.m. I was in a hospital bed being “hard wired” to a heart monitoring machine. A nurse even found me some dinner – and not just sandwiches. I also started receiving text messages and emails from my beautiful church family who were all praying for me.
  • On Friday 7th July I was taken into surgery at about 12.15 p.m. I was incredibly calm going into that theatre and felt the presence of God around me. The nurses said it was quite remarkable that the monitor I had had actually picked up the problem.
  • By 1.40 p.m. I was back in my hospital room with the procedure all done. I just had to wait a couple of hours for more antibiotics to be administered and an XRAY to be taken.
  • By 7.00 p.m. I was home with my husband watching television. In and out in 24 hours!
  • I was also given an electronic monitor to set up by my bedside which takes a reading of my heart rate once per night while I am sleeping and transmits it to a monitoring service who then send it on to my cardiologist.
  • I was back in church on Sunday 9th July and while there received a text message that my monitor was working and connected to the monitoring service, I felt God really had me in the palm of His hand and was caring for me the whole time.

I am immensely grateful and in awe of the way in which the Lord worked to care for me and ensure I received the medical attention, as well as the spiritual attention that I needed over those few days – and then afterwards through my church family. Only God could have lined up all those things to occur in the sequence they did. I have had the best cardiac care in the realm and I am feeling and functioning so much better now. I can only thank you and praise you my Lord. You are my Saviour.

Purim Celebration

Last term the Women’s Connect group did a study on the book of Esther using the ‘Swedish Study Method’.  Esther is one of only two books named for women (Ruth is the other) and while God’s presence is clear throughout the book His name does not appear. 

At the end of the study, we decided to celebrate in the same way the Jewish people did all those years ago – and still do to this day – with a Purim feast. The Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Esther and the holiday of Purim annually on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar (March).  They observe the days with feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.  One of the traditions of Purim is the reading of the Megillah, also known as the Book of Esther, which recounts the story of the Purim miracle. When Haman’s name is mentioned in the reading, children twirl graggers (noisemakers) and adults stamp their feet to eradicate his evil name. It is also customary for children (and adults if they desire) to dress up in costumes. 

Purim was established to remember Esther’s intercession and the victory of the Jewish people over Haman. The Jews took it upon themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these days every year. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and in every city. (Esther 9:28)

We sat down at a table decorated by Robyn and feasted on a shared meal consisting of Verity’s delicious soup, Panida’s famous spring rolls, party pies, Stephany’s spinach and ricotta triangles, Michelle’s yummy roast pumpkin and Rhonda’s delicious cannoli.  To top it off Lois made some Hamantaschen (Haman’s pockets or Haman’s ears), a traditional Purim party snack. 

A pile of cookies with jam

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After our meal we watched a video from The Bible Project on the book of Esther.  

For a bit of fun, Lois provided the music and taught us some Jewish dance steps: the Mayim (which Jamie and some of the men once demonstrated for us) and Kelzmer. This was a truly wonderful celebration which we all enjoyed sharing.

Zoom Alpha with St Nics Tuesday 18th July

The Alpha course we run here at St Nics allows people to join us and explore life’s big questions from a Christian perspective. As many of you already know it can be a transformative experience.

Alpha has impacted lives worldwide since its establishment in 1977 and has helped millions across more than 100 countries. Its effectiveness lies in engaging videos and open discussions underpinned by prayer. Participants embark on a personal and communal exploration of faith, in an environment where questions are welcomed, doubts are explored, and friendships are nurtured.

Each week’s thought-provoking video presentation delves into core topics of the Christian faith, covering subjects such as Who is Jesus? Why did He die? How can I have faith? Does God heal today? How and why pray? How and why should I read the bible?  Who is the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit do? The videos serve as a catalyst for discussion helping participants go deeper in their own spiritual understanding.

The discussions will happen in breakout groups following the video with  Vance and Chelsie helping me lead this course. It’s here that participants can share their thoughts, ask questions, and engage with the material presented. It is a place where genuine conversations occur, doubts can be voiced without judgment, and new insights can be gained.

Alpha covers the foundational principles of the Christian faith. Since we have run Alpha we have welcomed people each year into our church family who have renewed their faith or chosen to follow Jesus for the first time.  Often people discover answers to long-standing questions, while others encounter a renewed sense of purpose and a deepened relationship with God. Alpha is a journey of discovery, inviting participants to explore their faith, encounter the love of God, and find belonging within a supportive community.

Are you joining us? Flyers are available from today. Please take some and make prayerful invites perhaps to the 5 people you are praying for. Register your interest via the stnicholasminster@gmail.com



Local Houses of Prayer Training Days in Western Australia

In May 2023, the newly forming LHOP leaders network in Australia met at Ffald-y-Brenin, West Wales, UK. The purpose was to worship and pray together, encourage one another with testimonies of God’s grace working through current LHOP in Australia and reflect on how we might make this teaching available widely in Australia.

Ann de Leyser, the director for LHOP and Cate Lewis the Australian coordinator commissioned Verity and me to bring this training to WA.

As a pastor and church leader I see this as a wonderful way to enable church communities to look out and discern together what is on god’s heart for their local communites and spheres of influence. Seeking god for what He wants to bless around us has already made a significant impact for us here at St Nics.

If you are interested in finding out more in the first instance look here for an overview. We are working on a bespoke Australian website but this will take you to the international site. if you are interested in bringing this teaching to your church please contact Jamie and Verity via the contact details on this website and will get back to you. Training is free though we would ask for expenses and accommodation to be covered by the hosting church community.

Read more: Local Houses of Prayer Training Days in Western Australia

Three-in-One – The Unfathomable Mystery

Today we celebrate Trinity Sunday where we proclaim the mystery of our faith in the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One-in-Three and Three-in-One. It occurs on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

Unlike other festivals in the church’s liturgical calendar, Trinity Sunday centres on a doctrine instead of a figure or an event. It celebrates the unfathomable mystery of God’s being as Holy Trinity. It is a day of adoration and praise of the one eternal, incomprehensible God.

The doctrine of the Trinity, which is not present in Scripture, does not have any explanation, but it is taught in Scripture. Belief in the Trinity and God’s three distinct forms is a matter of complete faith and trust. Trinity Sunday allows the Church to further reflect on the mystery of God after receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Companion to the Book of Common Worship (2003) tells us this:

Trinity Sunday, in a sense, synthesises all we have celebrated over the past months which have centred on God’s mighty acts: Christmas-Epiphany celebrating God’s taking flesh and dwelling amongst us in Jesus Christ; Easter celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection for us; Pentecost celebrating God the Holy Spirit becoming our Sanctifier, Guide and Teacher. It is, therefore, a fitting transition to that part of the year when Sunday by Sunday the work of God among us is unfolded in a more general way.

God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the basis of all we are and do as Christians. We are baptised in the name of the triune God and we bear that name in our being. We are of the family of the triune God and we affirm this parentage when we declare what we believe in reciting the creeds – Nicene and Athanasian. We pray to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit. The Trinity holds central place in our faith.

The  Companion to the Book of Common Worship (2003) sums it up nicely as follows:

In celebrating Trinity Sunday, remember that every Lord’s Day is consecrated to the triune God. On the first day of the week, God began creation. On the first day of the week, God raised Jesus from the grave. On the first day of the week, the Holy Spirit descended on the newly born church. Every Sunday is special. Every Sunday is a day of the Holy Trinity.

Welcome to Pentecost Sunday

Welcome to Pentecost Sunday – a very special day in our church calendar when we celebrate the birth of the Christian Church over 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. Pentecost, a Greek word, means “fifty days” and was celebrated 50 days after Passover. Pentecost was also known by the Jews as the Festival of Weeks, a festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops.  Pentecost in the time of the Apostles was a great and grand harvest holiday celebration. The streets of Jerusalem were clogged with thousands of pilgrims who had come from every point of the compass to celebrate the goodness of God and the bringing in of the wheat harvest.

In our modern day of the New Testament church however, we do not celebrate Pentecost in the way that the Old Testament Hebrews did.

Pentecost was the moment in history, 50 days after Christ’s resurrection and 10 days after He had ascended to His Father. Jesus had promised during the gospel narratives, during his earthly ministry, that He would leave, but also that He would send the comforter, the Holy Spirit and it was at that moment in Pentecost where the Spirit came, and He empowered the early believers, particularly Peter.

It was Peter who stood up and said to the crowds, “Let me tell you about the Messiah, about who He is” and He quoted from the prophet Joel, speaking confidently, in the power of the Spirit. That is when thousands came into the faith, and it went from this little sect of believers who followed a Jewish rabbi from Nazareth, who died and rose again, to the church suddenly breaking forth into the culture. Suddenly it became an unstoppable force that no one could really deny any longer.

Pentecost has taken on a new significance for us. It, at one point, was just a historical memory. Now it is the living reality of the moment that the Spirit of God burst forth. Pentecost has become a marker in history to what many people would say was “the moment that the church was born”.  So I hope you will celebrate this historic and wondrous birthday this Sunday.

An uplifting visit by KITE Ministries.

Last Sunday 14 May, we had the great pleasure to have Dr. Teresa Parish speak to us.

Teresa is the founder of KITE Ministries. She is an enthusiastic lover of Jesus and people and a gifted communicator who thinks life with Jesus is worth getting excited about!

Teresa delivered a powerful sermon as she shared with us her insight and experience of “Holy Spirit”. Her reference to Him as Holy Spirit and not the Holy Spirit really personalized His present by using his name rather than referring to him as an object, just like we call Jesus by his name.

Teresa is ALSO the daughter of our very own Pastor Terry O’Neill who was leading our service in Jamie’s absence. Terry is in the above photo with Teresa. How proud he must have been listening to her speak with such passion.

Keys to Transformation Unit 2 – Elijah House course June 23 & 24 2023

St Nics will be hosting a unit from Elijah House’ Keys to Transformation course on Friday and Saturday the 23 and 24 June entitled ‘Dare to Trust’.

The core teaching of Elijah House is the concept of “healing the heart” through prayer, and inner healing ministry. It emphasizes that this is work from the inside out, enabled by the Holy Spirit and trust in God’s word

This unit can be undertaken by anyone who has already completed the Keys to Transformation unit 1.

St Nics Got Talent (show)..

In keeping with our Lord’s desire for us to play, have fun and enjoy some lighter moments with each other, we held a talent show here at St Nics on Friday evening 5th May.

This was such a great night. We had 18 participants whose talents ranged from poetry readings to dance displays, history recitals to vocal choirs and also a very unique ‘band’.

The evening was a resounding success and the audience of over 70 people were thoroughly entertained by the MC’s of the night, Terry and his wonderful sidekick Geoffrey (with a bit of help from Lorraine).

With the help of many hands the evening was smoothly coordinated including half time nourishment of soups and sandwiches.

Hopefully, our talent show can become an annual event. We certainly have the talent within our flock.

Confirmation, affirmation and reception into the Anglican church here at St Nics

on the first Sunday after Easter, we welcomed our bishop + Ian Coutts to lead us in a service of confirmation, affirmation and reception.

What does that mean? Confirmation is for those who have already been baptised but recognise a desire to confirm that commitment in the context of the Anglican church. Affirmation is for those who have been baptised and confirmed but who have come back to faith after a time of doubt, challenge or ‘wandering!’ It’s an opportunity to reaffirm a renewed commitment to Jesus and His church. Reception is for those who have been formally welcomed into another Christian church but have decided to join the Anglican expression of the church.

It was a delight for us to welcome 8 people in this way ranging in age from 13 to 70+. Jeus continues to call people from every age and stage, every walk of life and it is a joy to us all to share His joy together.

If you are interested to find out more about the Christian faith please register for our next online Alpha beginning on July 18th at 7 pm Western Australia time.